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Pro14

Leinster Demolish Ospreys in RDS Masterclass

Leinster have made it two wins from two at the start of the PRO14 season with another impressive performance

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(Photo By Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster have hammered the Ospreys  53-5 tonight in what was a dominant performance by the reigning back to back champions at the RDS. 

It was the Blues first home and they made no mistake in ensuring the bonus-point with a hat-trick of tries from Ronan Kelleher along with further tries from Fergus McFadden, Joe Tomane, Max Deegan, Harry Byrne and Michael Milne sealing a comfortable win for the hosts. 

Leinster registered the first points of the night from the boot of Ross Byrne, who knocked over a fourth minute penalty. 

Byrne was at the centre of the hosts opening try as Leinster broke into the Ospreys 22-metre line and with a penalty advantage behind them, the fly-half sent a perfect cross-field kick over to McFadden who simply had to catch the ball and put the ball down over the whitewash. Byrne couldn’t add the kick from the touchline but it was 8-0 with 11 minutes gone. 

Four minutes later and they were in for their second try as back-row Will Connors broke through the Ospreys’ defence before passing to Kelleher just before being tackled. From there Kelleher showed some incredible pace for a hooker to score his first try for the province. Byrne made no mistake from the tee and suddenly it was 15-0. 

It took time but after some sustained Leinster pressure were over once again on 34 minutes as centre Tomane finished off a number of phases close to the opposition line by barging over the line. Byrne again added the extras to stretch the lead out to 22-0. 

That’s how they went in at the half-time whistle with the boys in blue looking in full control heading into the second period. 

Leinster started the second-half where they left off in the first, with the Ospreys having the ball five metres out from their own try-line Kelleher broke through a ruck, kicked the ball ahead and touched down for his second try of the game while also securing the bonus-point. Byrne hit the post with the difficult kick from the left, but it was 27-0 with four minutes gone in the second-half. 

With half an hour remaining the hooker got in for his hat-trick as the Leinster pack drove forward from a maul off a line-out leaving Kelleher with the simple task of pushing the ball down over the line. Byrne was on target with the kick to give the hosts even more comfort on the scoreboard. 

Another five minutes on and substitute Deegan, who was only on the pitch for three minutes, made a darting run from deep, receiving the ball just in front of the Ospreys line, where he was never going to be stopped and put the ball down for try number six for Leinster. Byrne converted with his final kick of the game as he was replaced by younger brother Harry. 

Less than ten minutes after his introduction and Harry Byrne was in for his first try for Leinster in what was his home debut as he backed himself from close-range and wriggled through for the score. He failed to convert his own try but it was 46-0 with little over ten minutes remaining. 

Six minutes on and fellow home debutant Milne scored his first try for Leinster as he barrelled over from close-range. This time Harry Byrne made no mistake from the tee to make it 53-0. 

The Ospreys got a consolation score a minute later through Luke Morgan after they took a quick line-out inside the Leinster 22, the conversion was missed as they only walked away with the five-pointer. 

Things only got worse for the away side as forward Gareth Evans was sin-binned for a shoulder tackle on McFadden, meaning they would have to play the final minutes with only 14-men. 

Leinster failed to notch up any further scores but it finished 53-5 in favour of the home side as they went to the top of Conference A.

Leinster host Edinburgh next Friday when they will look to continue their winning start to the season, while the Ospreys will hope to bounce-back from this defeat when they welcome Benetton to Wales next Saturday. 

Leinster Player Ratings

Starting XV:

Hugo Keenan (7), Fergus McFadden (7), Rory O’Loughlin (7), Joe Tomane (7), James Lowe (7), Ross Byrne (8), Jamison Gibson-Park (8): Peter Dooley (7), Rónan Kelleher (9), Michael Bent (6), Devin Toner (7), Scott Fardy (8), Josh Murphy (7), Will Connors (8), Caelan Doris (8)

Replacements (9)

Premiership

Ulster to play Saracens in Pre-Season doubleheader.

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Photo By John Dickson/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ulster Rugby will get the 2021/22 season underway with home and away pre-season friendlies against Saracens in September. 

The Ulster men will face the five-time Premiership and three-times Champions Cup winners at Kingspan Stadium on Friday 3 September (kick-off 7pm).

The squad will then make the journey to central London for the away clash on Thursday 9 September (kick-off 5pm) at the Honorary Artillery Company. 

This will be the first time the two sides have faced each other since the pool stages of the 2015/2016 Heineken Champions Cup.

Both matches against Sarries, who return to the Gallagher Premiership this season, will act as preparation for Ulster ahead of the newly launched United Rugby Championship, and the challenges they will face in this year’s Heineken Champions Cup.

Admission to the home pre-season friendly on 3 September is included in 2021/22 Season Tickets, as well as access to all home regular season fixtures in the United Rugby Championship and Heineken Champions Cup.

Existing Season Ticket holders have until 5pm this Friday (30 July) to renew their packages, and can do so online at ulsterrugby.com/seasontickets.

New purchasers can ensure they are notified first about new Season Tickets as they become available by registering their interest here.

The availability of match tickets sold individually will be dependent upon available capacity, in-line with government regulations. Further details will be released in due course.

Source – Ulster Rugby

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

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Pro14

Sharks sign former Wallaby & Munster 2nd Row.

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The Cell C Sharks are delighted to welcome three new players to the Shark tank as we continue to build our squad ahead of the United Rugby Championship (URC), commencing in September.

Due to the longevity of the URC Tournament, in is important to bolster squad depth and have the talent to be a success in this grueling northern hemisphere competition, while balancing player welfare.

To this end, the Cell C Sharks will be welcoming both local and international flavour to Durban and are proud to announce the signings of centre Ben Tapuai, utility back Eduan Keyter and lock Gerbrandt Grobler.

Tapuai is a former Reds Super Rugby star who spent six years in Brisbane where he accumulated 64 appearances, before adding a further 12 with the Western Force. During that time, he made seven test appearances for the Wallabies between 2011 and 2012.

He has spent the last five years playing in the UK and will bring huge amounts of intellectual capital given his experiences of northern hemisphere rugby for Bath and Harlequins where he is approaching a combined 100 appearances for the English teams.

So highly rated was he as a youngster that he he was selected for the 2007 Australian Schoolboys team ahead of James O’Connor. No stranger to success, he played in the 2011 Super Rugby final won by the Reds and more recently in Harlequins’ Premiership final victory last month.

25-year-old Eduan Keyter recently impressed against the Cell C Sharks in the opening round of their Carling Currie Cup clash and is currently the top try-scorer in the competition with six touchdowns.

He made his senior debut against the Cell C Sharks two years ago in Griquas’ 37-13 victory over the Cell C Sharks and in the most recent match, won by the Cell C Sharks (30-16) in Kimberley, Keyter scored one of his team’s two tries.

The third signing, Gerbrandt Grobler, currently hails from Stade Francais. He is a local talent who started his junior career with the Bulls but moved to Western Province as a senior, representing the province at Currie Cup level and the Stormers in Super Rugby between 2012 and 2014 before making the move north.

He has played high profile rugby in both the UK and France, moving from Cape Town in South Africa to Racing 92 for two years before moving to Ireland where he turned out for Munster, then to England where he enjoyed two seasons with Gloucester, playing under former Sharks lock and Lions coach Johan Ackermann before returning to the Top 14 with Stade Francais last year.

We welcome the three new signings to a Cell C Sharks side committed to playing an awesome exciting and winning brand of rugby, with the aim of becoming an internationally acclaimed team that tastes success and wins silverware on a regular basis.

Source Cell C Sharks

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Pro14

Edinburgh Rugby appoint new Head Coach

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(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Edinburgh Rugby have appointed Scotland Assistant Coach Mike Blair as the club’s new Head Coach.

The former Edinburgh and Scotland captain made over 150 appearances for the club (2001-2012) and returns from a five-year term with the national team, where he was recruited by Head Coach Gregor Townsend to occupy a dual role with Glasgow Warriors in 2017.

He joined Glasgow as Assistant Coach in 2016 and operated in that capacity for club and country until 2019 – helping the club reach the PRO14 semi-final and Grand Final (2018 and 2019) and two Champions Cup quarter-finals (2017 and 2019) – before focussing fully on national team matters for the past two years.

Blair’s contribution was recognised recently with his appointment as Interim Scotland Head Coach, only for the matches to be abandoned as coronavirus affected the camp and that of their opponents.

The recent departure of Richard Cockerill then presented a timely opportunity for Blair to take on the reins of the club he represented over a decade, having been born and bred in the capital city and schooled at Edinburgh Academy.

Mike Blair, said: “The first emotion is one of pride. I’ve lived in Edinburgh most of my life, played 11 seasons at the club and still live in the city, so having that attachment combine with the opportunity to lead the squad is really special for me.

“I’ve learned a lot from working with quality coaches like Dave Rennie, Jason O’Halloran and Gregor Townsend, in particular and over the years, and have been able to develop and adapt a philosophy that I feel should benefit the talent we have at the club.

“It’s a really exciting squad. There’s a good balance of experience and backgrounds and I’m looking forward to getting to know the players and their strengths better so we can mould that into making Edinburgh both good to watch and successful.

“It’s also a really good time to come in with all the excitement around the launch of the new stadium this summer. It’s a massive, watershed moment for the club. We all want to get that packed out with supporters from the outset and build an atmosphere the players deserve and the fans can be proud of.”

Edinburgh Rugby Managing Director, Douglas Struth, added: “We’re delighted to welcome Mike back to the club as our Head Coach, having watched his development into a first-rate coach over the past six years.

“Not only does he bring that expertise, but Mike is also a local man, a club centurion, and somebody who became a home-grown legend in an Edinburgh Rugby jersey.

“That’s really important to us and is a fantastic illustration of our ambition to promote and develop local stars of the future.

“It’s a new era for the club, with a new stadium and new tournament formats, and we believe Mike is the right man to continue the development of our tactical approach and winning mentality on the field, and our culture and connection to the wider rugby community off it.”

Prior to coaching, Blair was a player of worldwide repute.

He earned 85 caps for his country and toured with the British & Irish Lions in 2009 – the same year Edinburgh Rugby finished as runners-up in the then Magners League – and played a major role in the club’s storied run to the Heineken Cup semi-final in 2012.

He also played professional club rugby in England for Newcastle Falcons and in France with Brive, all experiences which contribute significantly to his depth of knowledge and understanding of the sport.

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson, said: “We’re really pleased to see Mike take this next step on his coaching journey with Edinburgh Rugby, recognising the excellent contribution he’s made at both Glasgow and Scotland over the past six years.

“He’s an exceptional Scottish coach who is hungry to deliver success for a club he cares a great deal about.

“He’s done a fantastic job of developing players in all of his roles, many of whom have shone on the biggest stage for Scotland and, more recently, the British & Irish Lions.

“We’re looking forward to watching him and the club develop further, together, as the beginning of this new era for Edinburgh Rugby, targeting a regular return to the knockout rounds of domestic and European Cup competitions and competing for silverware in the seasons ahead.

“His existing knowledge of the player group and lasting affinity with the club’s fanbase make this an excellent and exciting appointment.”

Source – Scotland Rugby

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